4 students attacked by mob of teens near University of Cincinnati campus

CINCINNATI -- A group of teenagers assaulted four college students late Saturday night just a few blocks from the University of Cincinnati, authorities said.

Investigators said 10 teenagers approached the students before midnight near the intersection of Clifton Avenue and Clifton Court. They then started punching them repeatedly.

One victim received treatment for facial injuries at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The assailants didn't attempt to steal anything, UC police said. A motive was not determined.

UC police said they believe the assailants are between 14 and 16 years old. They also said three females participated in the beatings.

One of the students injured in the attack said he was walking by when he attempted to stop the beating. That’s when he became a victim himself.

“I sort of jumped in just to make sure that nothing bad was going to happen and they started just going to town on all of us," the student, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

No other information about the attack was provided.

The incident on Saturday is the latest in a string of violent activities near UC’s campus in Clifton.

On Tuesday, there were two robberies where students had their cellphones stolen at gunpoint. In both instances, which happened at about 11 p.m., a person with a handgun approached students and demanded their phones.

Investigators suspect the same person is behind both offenses.

Three weeks earlier, on the night of Feb. 2, a man robbed and shot a UC sophomore on Jefferson Avenue near Carlton Street.

Police arrested Michael Davis the next day and charged him with 19 felony counts. He's also charged in the Jan. 7 shooting death of Curron Jones.

"There comes a point when you get desensitized to the topic," said Elizabeth Bradford, a freshman at the university. "Some days you get up to five emails (from UC) - it becomes normal then, like, you cross your fingers when you walk home hoping that it's not me."

Classmate Mitchell Dodd said it's important to remain alert and avoid precarious situations.

"As long as you stick together, you're fine. But you definitely want to be on guard."

Campus police said there are four officers on patrol every day between 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The department plans to hire seven more officers by April.

RELATED (INSIDER): UC crime trends in 2014

After the next round of hires, UC police officials said they’d like to add an additional six to 12 officers. That move needs to be approved by President Santa Ono, who said he is working hard to decrease crime near campus.

"We are working very closely with the mayor himself… and we will continue to do that,” Ono said. “We will do everything we can. This is a city problem and the city and the university are working hand-in-hand to try to make the area safer."

In addition to extra police officers, university officials sent students a letter in January that listed several safety precautions.

The tips include keeping a radio on when you're not at home, using a deadbolt lock and trimming your hedges to a certain length to control visibility into your windows.

Most importantly, though, the university advised students to watch out for one another.

“I try not to do stupid things that would make myself a target,” said Jacob Hamblin, a junior. "You want to make sure you’re not a target.”

Authorities as that anyone with information about these crimes call the UC police tip line at 513-556-COPS or Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.

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